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How Long Does a Roof Last?

We’re often asked, “How long does a roof last?” The lifespan of your roof depends upon many factors. Instead, you might ask, “How long should a roof last?”


How Long Does a Roof Last?


We’ve previously discussed things that can shorten the life of a roof. The length of a roof life can be affected by weather, installation, and care. If you are concerned about the life of your shingles, live in Central Iowa, and want to know more about their condition, give us a call at 515-554-1964​ or fill out the contact form. We will get back to you with the necessary information concerning an inspection or other issues that might be occurring.


In addition to the previously mentioned factors, the lifespan of a shingle roof is affected by the materials used. Below you’ll find the average of each of the most commonly used materials:

Asphalt Shingles (3-tab): 15 to 18 years

Asphalt Shingles (Architectural): 24 to 30 years

Metal: 30 to 45 years

Concrete Tile: 35 to 50 years

Built-Up or Modified Bitumen: 10 to 16 years

EPDM (rubber): 10 to 16 years


Asphalt Shingles


Asphalt shingles are the most common roof covering, especially in the Midwest. They were first introduced in the 1920s and have stood the test of time. They have become the most common choice for homeowners, contractors, and roofers today. The average lifespan of asphalt shingles ranges from 20 to 40 years depending on the manufacturer.


Lifespan of Asphalt Shingles


The longevity of asphalt shingles almost greatly depends on the geographic location of the home and if they have been installed properly. Shingles last longer in the cooler places of the United States last longer than those in warmer climates. The average lifespan for shingles, which is normally around 20 years, is determined to be about 14 years for a warmer environment, such as the Southwest. But in the North and Northeastern regions of the United States, asphalt shingles last anywhere from 19 to more than 20 years.

In the Midwest, the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof can last between 10 and 40 years depending upon the type of weather the region experiences (hale storms and severe weather can drastically shorten the lifespan), installation, and care. However, 20 to 25 years is the average length of an asphalt roof.


Factors That Effect the Lifespan of Your Shingles


The extreme temperatures and severe storms of the Midwest can shorten the life of the asphalt shingles of your central Iowa home. Other damages that occur because of continuous water accumulation are algae and fungus growth as well as freezing and thawing cycles during colder months.


Further damage shingle damage can result from poor attic ventilation. Proper ventilation is another way to increase the life of your shingles as well as the rest of the roof.

Here’s a list of conditions that affect the longevity of your roof:

Angle of roof slope – Pitched roofs tend to last longer.


Orientation of roof surface – A roof slope facing south will get more sunlight, and have a shorter life.

Multiple-layer roof – A roof installed over an existing roof (without removing the previous shingles) will have a shorter life.


Quality of roof material – “Economy” roof materials have a shorter life.

Installation – Careless or improper installation shortens roof life.

Attic ventilation – An unventilated or poorly ventilated attic reduces roof lifespan.

Trees near roof – Tree branches rubbing on a roof or the acidity from the accumulation of leaf debris on a roof shortens its life.


Harsh climate – Severe weather (including both harsh winters and hot summers), and big temperature swings (within a 24-hour period) also shorten the lifespan because of the expansion and contraction of roof materials.


Maintenance and Warranties


Maintaining a watchful eye and regular maintenance help provide longevity to your roof. Keep a lookout for any problems that might occur with shingles and related roofing issues.

When it comes to warranties and your shingles, they can be of help with manufacturing defects but always ask for a copy of a material warranty and read through the particulars for coverage, costs, installation requirements and other particulars before making any final decisions. Most warranties from a manufacturer range between 20 to 40 years and sometimes longer.


What about twenty-five-years shingles?


Roofing manufacturers label and sell their shingles as twenty, twenty-five, or thirty-year shingles. This is the length of time the shingle would be expected to last in a perfect climate. In many cases, shingles don’t last quite as long as the length of time they are labeled.


Twenty-year shingles do not usually last much longer than about fifteen years and may show signs of deterioration between ten and twelve years.


Twenty-five-year shingles have a useful life of about eighteen to twenty years.

Thirty-year shingles have about a twenty-five-year life expectancy.

Again, these lifespans are affected by weather, installation, and care.


In summary


So how longe does an asphalt shingled roof last? It depends upon the weather, installation, and care. Unfortunately, you can’t control the weather. But you can control the care and the installation. If you think you might need a new roof 515-554-1964​ or fill out the contact form. We’d be happy to check out your roof.

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